A fire broke out in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. At least 8 people were injured in the fire and thousands of shops were burned.
The fire broke out at 06.15 am local time in Bangaabazar Market, famous for clothing and ready-to-wear. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
According to a statement made by a firefighter, after 6 hours of intense efforts, the fire was brought under control by the army and fire department at around 12:45 pm local time.
Speaking to Anadolu, some businessmen in the affected market said several thousand shops have been destroyed, leaving nothing for them ahead of the holy Muslim festival Eid-al Fitr. “We have lost everything.”
Around 48 units of Fire Service and Civil Defense along with rescue teams from the army, police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Detective Branch (DB), and air force took part in the operation to contain the blaze.
According to the fire service, two members of the force were among the injured who have been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
“This is a big loss for us during the main annual business season ahead of the holy Eid-al Fitr. We have nothing left now. We want compensation from the government,” said Mohammad Kalam Bepary, one of the fire victims who lost all his seven shops with products.
He added that five big markets with thousands of shops have been heavily damaged by the fire.
Products worth billions of dollars have been destroyed, Bepary claimed, saying that they need urgent help from the government. “Otherwise, we have no option but to sit on the street.”
Meanwhile, in a preliminary assessment, the president of the Bangladesh Shop Owners’ Association, Helal Uddin, said that nearly 5,000 shops have been damaged in the fire, causing a loss of approximately 20 billion Bangladeshi Taka ($200 million).
He demanded an initial compensation of 7 billion Taka ($70 million).
Due to weak management and congested structures in the south Asian country of nearly 165 million, deadly fires are frequent.
In June 2022, an explosion and the subsequent fire at a container depot in the southern main port city of Chattogram killed 41 people and wounded over 200.
At least 52 workers at a food processing factory were killed and 35 injured in a fire in the industry-hub district of Narayanganj, the eastern city closest to Dhaka, on July 8, 2021. The bodies of 45 victims were identified through DNA tests one month after the deadly fire.
On June 27 of the same year, 8 people died in an explosion in Dhaka’s Moghbazar area.
At least 70 people were killed in a massive blaze that engulfed several multistory buildings in the old part of Dhaka in 2019. Another fire killed 123 in 2010 in the same area.
In March 2019, a fire killed at least 25 in the upscale Banani area and wounded dozens.